The first organized University of Toronto Outing Club reunion, 1960's ERA Canmore, AB. July 13-17, 1998
The idea for a reunion was first discussed by Keith and Birgid Thompson and Pat
Saunders (Bennett) and developed from there. Correspondence both by snail mail and e-mail
furthered the plans. Unfortunately, Pat was unable to attend in the end but we hope she
will be there next time.
At first there was much "You haven't changed." which helped us to realize that all is relative. Fred Beal won the prize for bringing an original UTOC hat. Most of us can say the rest have not changed, especially when we are meeting good friends from the past. Isn't life grand!
Officially we were together for the Monday to Friday time span, 13 - 17 July. Some came a bit earlier and some just dropped in for some of the time. Altogether 15 former UTOCers plus family bringing the total to 27 took part
Day 1(Monday, July 13)
Early arrivals went hiking with Keith and Birgid up Chinaman's Peak (Oops - no name peak). Some thought it was to be an easy introductory hike while others realized it was just called the "introductory" hike because it was the first one. Those on this hike were Keith and Birgid Thompson; Larry and Mary Stevens; Bob, Diane, Brian and Evan Hughes, Roger and Sue Bedford; Maggie McEwan and Hans Iwanowsky. Those who made it to the top were Roger, Brian, Evan, Hans, Maggie, Birgid and Keith. While those fearless first ones were hiking Fred and Gail Beal and Ann and Ken Jeffrey arrived and checked in. By dinnertime Les, Barb, Megan and Michael Ferrier arrived and Helmut and Gisele Microys. Dinner was a Bar-B-Que provided by Keith and Birgid. We enjoyed Helmut's and Keith's slides with many chuckles. It was a challenge to identify events and UTOC participants of over 30 years ago.
Day 2(Tuesday, July 14)
Grant McNabb joined us. On this sunny, warm day Fred, Gail, Roger and Les set off down
the Bow River in two of the Thompson's indestructible Grumman canoes. "We put in at
the base of Bow Falls below the Banff Springs Hotel with some trepidation as none of us
had done any white water canoeing for eons. Once we were around the first tight bend and
out of the white water we were able to appreciate the beautiful scenery. Within the first
hour we came upon two tour groups in what looked like 50 seater inflatable rafts at a bend
in the river with some white water." While waiting for the raft to go first Roger and
Les looked back to find Fred and Gail hanging on to their canoe in the frigid, swift
waters and heading down a minor branch of the river! When Roger and Les reached them they
had the canoe ready to go again, although they were a little bruised and very wet as was
their disposable camera. Gail was particularly unhappy, as this was her first dump ever in
a canoe. The rest of the canoeing was delightful and we finished up with a short portage
to get back to Keith's home. Gail reports that the bruises have healed but that their egos
may take a little longer! It was noted that most of us had rolled a canoe much earlier in
our lives. However, Bob says that nobody else has ever put a Riley on top of a stump,
which refers to a freezing cold ski trip to Huntsville many moons ago with Fred's Riley.
Comments like that led to much story telling and laughter.
While some paddled canoes, a group of seven rode mountain bikes down the Goat Creek Trail from above the Nordic Centre to Banff. Five of these rode back from the Banff golf course along the Banff trail to the Nordic Centre at Canmore to be picked up by car. Larry and Mary rode their own bikes while Bob, Brian and Evan Hughes and Ann and Ken Jeffrey rented bikes from the Nordic Centre. Ann, Ken, Bob, Brian and Evan did the full there-and-back circuit. What they did not realize in advance was that the supposedly easy return was classified as moderate/advanced and described in the Bike Trails book as a "technical" ride. This may be interpreted as "Watch out for the rocks and roots" cycling. Not bad for a first time. Whether there will be a second time for any of them is still undecided. Mary accepted the offer of a ride back from Banff. Larry rode back on the highway, a wise idea as it turned out. Unfortunately, Bob took a spill and injured his right shoulder. He walked around for two days with his hand in his pocket to remind himself not to use it. Brian also took a dive & tore some skin out of his back, but stoically said nothing. The round trip trail ride was bout 40 km and all had the aches and bruises to show for it.
A third group walked and toured. Johnston Canyon and the Ink Pots were excellent, as reported by Megan, Michael and Barb Ferrier, Sue Bedford, Diane Hughes and Grant McNabb. Hans walked to the Nordic Centre and also was on the drives to Banff with Keith to pick up any bikers that could not make the return trip. Pizza and salad were the delicious repast, followed by more slides of the60's UTOC events, provided by a variety of the folks present.
Day 3(Wednesday, July 15)
This day we had planned to go to Sunshine Village and hike around the meadows. The
telephone call to inquire about permission to bring a dog gave us the information that
buses to Sunshine were fully booked and that only standby was available. We changed our
reservations for Thursday to take the group to Sunshine. Four cars went to Kananaskis
containing: Ken and Ann Jeffery, Maggie and Hans, Grant and William McNabb, Keith and
Birgid; Les, Barb, Megan, Michael and Frisky (the dog) Ferrier; Bob, Diane, Brian and Evan
Hughes; Sue and Roger Bedford and Larry and Mary Stevens. In the Kananaskis area we drove
to the Interpretive Centre and then hiked part of the Upper Lake Kananaskis Lake trail.
Some stayed around the lake and some walked the route to Rawson Lake. Fred and Gail Beal
had seen the Kananaskis area and used this occasion to drive to Lake Louise and up the
Banff Jasper Highway to see the Columbia Ice Fields and other attractions in the area. We
didn't mind hiking in a light rain.
At supper that night (Chinese food, ordered in) we shared a cake for William McNabb to celebrate his 17th birthday. During our slide shows on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, we were amazed that a room with 15-20 former trippers have trouble putting names to people after only 30 plus years. A large number of people were identified by familiar hats, shirts or other such things. Some of the younger family members were amused by the fact that we almost seemed to be more successful identifying backs than faces. Of course, these slides generated a lot of nostalgic storytelling. A miscellaneous selection of fine wines was pleasant change from our 1960's routine. Unfortunately, there is not enough space in this report to elaborate on stories and personal updates.
Day 4(Thursday, July 16)
We met again, as on other mornings, at the Thompson house to arrange cars and start our day. From there 14 left for the parking lot at Sunshine to meet the McNabb family, Grant, Ann, William and Kari-Ann, for the bus to Sunshine village. From there we hiked around the meadows. There were many mosquitos, many other tourists on the trail and a super abundance of alpine wild flowers. While this group of 18 was there, Barb Ferrier did laundry, dog-sat Frisky, and they visited Banff together. Fred, Gail and Birgid took the gondola upSulphur Mountain in Banff and Hans walked in the Canmore area viewing the golf course on the other side of the highway and Lady MacDonald mountain. The corporate supper that night was a scrumptious coq-au-vin organized by Ann J. Our evening was filled with reminiscences and talk of current activities as is normal on Outing club events. ***
Day 5(Friday, July 17)
Our last day when most of the group would be present was spent on a trip to Lake Louise. Twenty of us walked to the Lake Agnes Tea House. At that point Diane, Sue, Mary and Birgid returned back to the lake and headed back to Canmore to get a start on dinner. Sixteen went from Lake Agnes to the viewpoint at Big Beehive and from there on to the Tea House at the Plain of Six Glaciers and then returned by the path at the edge of the lake. Fred and Gail did the Mt. Everest Loop in Kananaskis. Maggie and Hans did the Grassi Lakes from their B & B in town. Our last dinner together, great bar-b-que, (mostly cooked by Bob operating left handed) was culminated with a group photo.. We all hope that one of the nine cameras that were used will produce a good photo.
Day 6(Saturday, July 18)
(by Keith Thompson) On Saturday those who were still around spent the day in Canmore relaxing and getting ready for the trip home. The week ended formally as we met for dinner at Patino's restaurant complete with birthday cake for William McNabb (age 17) and a "UTOC" cake for the rest of us. In this final get together; we were joined by some of Ann and Grant's relatives. Then we finished up at Keith and Birgid's so that Grant could see some slides taken on a canoe trip he did with Keith. In conclusion, a great time was had by all. This in large part was due to Keith and Birgid being our wonderful hosts and having Canmore with its nearby diversity of outdoor activities and splendid scenery as our base.
Day 7(Sunday, July 19)
Sue, Roger, Maggie (and son David) climbed Rummel Creek trail in Kananaskis,- another
ascent for Maggie! Our neighbours gave their approval of the "nice" UTOC crowd.
Our lost and found was rather lean - just a mystery batch of food odds and ends which took
us a week to dispatch.
(Thanks, Les, from us all for the honey. And Les, the lawn needs mowing again. Fred, the gate latch is still working. Thanks to all for coming and thanks to all for the memories. Keith and Birgid.)
POSSIBLE REPEAT!!!!! We are hoping that this can be done again in the near future (consider reserving some time in the summer of '00) and we can expand it to included more UTOC members. Any suggestions from members re locations, accommodation, events, etc. are welcome.